Wednesday 31 March 2010

But just don't touch those Mr Ks cos I think they're mine...

Some products are clearly over-branded. Some manufacturers grossly over exaggerate their products pulling power or - dare I say it - even lie or make-it-up-as-they-go-along (MIUATGA) about the quality or effects of their products! But then there's Mr Kipling's Fruit Pie selection, which does exactly what it says on their box...

That's right! Whether you're tucking into an apple, cherry or apple and blackcurrant fruit pie from Mr Kipling, you know what you're getting every time - just exceedingly good pies! And the condition of the pies when straight from the box is always top notch, with special patented plastic pie holders and individually placed foil holders. Just don't let anyone run the box over with their car tyres first!

One of the great things about pies like this is that they are snacksize and can be eaten absolutely anywhere...Southend (Bucks), Southend-on-Sea, Southend Garsington... need I go on?! The only question mark is the cost, as Mr Kipling pies are defo on the luxury end of the price spectrum. But while supermarkets try to bring the average cost of pies down with their own pies, you can't beat Mr Ks for consistency in quality, wherever you are in the country. You can’t get brand consistency like that with any other fruit pie!

But even when not on a roadtrip, the convenience of such a pie is ideal and you don't need to heat it up for full flavour behaviour. Plus it's great with a cheeky bit of evaporated milk, custard, ice cream or even Lacey's family farm milk. (have you seen them in the field?!)

So with the Apple and Blackcurrant pie doused in evaporated milk, it's time to give out some more scores...

The colour is lightly brown, standard pastry colour and fits the bill perfectly. The content of the pie is very good, with almost no air space in the pastry shell. The capacity is well used to pack in fruit, fruit and more fruit, while still getting a good balance of pastry to content ratio (probably about 1:1). All in all, it's definitely fruitilicious. You can defo get at least 1, if not 2, of your 5-a-day there while enjoying the great pie taste!

While you could argue that a few of the pieces of fruit make the content a bit chewy, this is no problem and certainly doesn't detract from the great taste. All in all, they really are just exceedingly good pies!

1. Colour 6/7
2. Consistency 7/7
3. Capacity 7/7
4. Chewiness 6/7
5. Cheapness 5/7 (but worth it!)
6. Content 7/7
7. Condition 7/7

Average: 6.42/7

continue reading "But just don't touch those Mr Ks cos I think they're mine..."

Tuesday 30 March 2010

It's high time for pie time

Pierate is a pie review website charting a course to find the ultimate pie. For all the pies we have reviewed have a look at our Pie Rankings or find pies of a particular flavour under Pies: Categorised.

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Below is one of our first ever posts on Pierate, from a period where we were just cutting our teeth in the pie reviewing sector. As such you may notice we didn't actually record the place this pie was bought or give it a score (oops!) but don't worry - you can find plenty of full pie reviews on!

Today's pie review is of an unbranded steak and mushroom pie purchased from a local butchers shop. It's always good to support local small shops, enabling them to continue trading against the backdrop of enormous supermarkets - so I buy two. Unfortunately I cannot make an exact comment on their cheapness as I also bought some other items and didn't get a receipt, but you can't put a price on supporting your local community. I make the assumption that this pie is "handmade", and I also make the assumption about an appropriate cooking time (since there is no packaging to indicate cooking time). Selecting the cooking method of "fan oven", and the cooking time of "until they look about done", I insert the pies into the oven and wait.

These look about done! They are already scoring highly on colour with their beautiful, traditional, golden brown pastry topping that flakes off as you touch it. This reminds me of the magical 8th C - crispiness - the pie is certainly a point scorer in this category. I cut through to check that it is piping hot throughout - it is. This also provides me with an ideal opportunity to make some preliminary assessments of the capacity, content and condition.

This pie certainly looks meatylicious. The balance between pastry and steak looks quite ideal, with a 1:1 ratio. To those who think that this pie looks a bit to heavy on the pastry, do remember that due to the puffed nature of the pastry, the pastry zone is mostly air and is easily counterbalanced by the density of the steak. The pie is not large, but the steak is packed in well - scoring points for capacity. Although I don't actually like mushroom, I am aware that other people do. While there were elegant notes of fungus within the gravy of this pie, I found only one small tidbit that could be identified as mushroom. Had I been a fan of mushrooms, I would have been disappointed by the lack of mushroomy content. The condition in which this pie was purchased was exemplary, and the pie contained much of its supreme form throughout the cooking process.

The consistency of the pie was delectable, and the gravy was of a premium thickness. However, I felt slightly deprived of sufficient gravy, which added a small element of chewiness to the steak. All in all, for steak pieces in a pie, they were certainly of high quality and not nearly as bad as some other chewy-steak offenders.

I very much enjoyed eating this pie, and would recommend trying out an unbranded pie from your local butcher in the near future.
continue reading "It's high time for pie time"

Saturday 27 March 2010

Pierate in the Urban Dictionary

Pierate in the Urban Dictionary

My curiosity got the better of me today, and I Googled "pierate" to see what would come up. I was interested to read an Urban Dictionary definition of a "pierate", and I have posted them below for your delectation:


1. A pirate who steals, pillages, and acts generally badass for the purpose of obtaining pie.
2. A pirate who IS a pie.
3. The ever rising costs of pie.
4. One (most often a pierate) who has eaten an entire pier, mistaking it for a pie.
5. A ratio, approximately 1.15, equal to that of pi and e.
No specific examples, though the more badass a person is, the more likely it is that they are, in fact, a pierate.

Examples of people badass enough to be pierates, though they aren't: Aron Ralston, John Hirsch, Sigurdur Petursson (may be a pierate, unconfirmed), Edward Teach, Grigori Rasputin


Update in January 2014:

Of course the exciting thing is we now have our very own Pierate Dictionary, which contains pie puns and our definition of a true pie. You can also contribute to it by leaving a comment on the page or tweeting us an entry @Pierateers!

Pierate in the Urban Dictionary
Pierate in the Urban Dictionary

Pierate is a pie review website charting a course to find the ultimate pie. For all the pies we have reviewed have a look at our Pie Rankings or find pies of a particular flavour under Pies: Categorised.

Make sure you 
and let us know your thoughts!
continue reading "Pierate in the Urban Dictionary"

Friday 26 March 2010

Life is hard on the professional pie-eating circuit

I get a lot of comments from people saying that I must have the best job in the world, and that I must get up every morning really looking forward to the day. Well I'll tell you this - life is hard on the professional pie-eating circuit. As a professional pie reviewer, I always have to be on the lookout for the latest pies to hit the shops. With the pie industry booming as it is nowadays, and new pie-focussed restaurants setting up (r.e. Square Pie, Urban Pie etc) hoping to grab a sizeable slice of the market, my job gets more difficult every day. Some difficulties I contend with on a daily basis:

1) Choice - there couldn't be more to choose from. Not only do I have to choose whether I want to review a pie from a restaurant (and then there is the question of which restaurant) or from a supermarket (then, of course, which supermarket), I also have to choose between whether I want a savoury pie or a sweet dessert pie. There are many different brands, of different prices, with different content. It's so hard to choose - plus I want to choose a pie that will make an interesting review to read.

2) Health - It's no hidden fact that pies aren't exactly designed to help you lose weight. When you're eating as many pies as a Pierateer, the health of your body is severely compromised. This necessitates a regular gym routine - and being in the gym means less time for eating pies and writing reviews. Two horrible allergic words: "time management" Aaarrrrrgghh!

3) RSI - as I type all my reviews, this leaves me very prone to Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI). I have to see a physiotherapist several times a week to avoid RSI, and have employed four hamsters which run over the keyboard and help with the typing as soon as I start to notice the painful symptomssdfsdflkja ef sdsdsdsdsdsdddddddddddddegjklhjklhjokjkljl
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Wednesday 24 March 2010

What makes a pie a pie?

I was browsing wikipedia this evening and of course my thoughts turned to pie. What would this most modern vault of knowledge have to say about a pastry product that we have been enjoying for centuries? It certainly made for an interesting read. I enjoyed learning about the history of pies. For example did you know that 'pyes' were mentioned as far back as 12th century England? However I found some of the article was rather contentious, specifically their definition of pie.

'Pies can be either "filled", where a dish is covered by pastry and the filling is placed on top of that, "top-crust," where the filling is placed in a dish and covered with a pastry/potato mash top before baking, or "two-crust," with the filling completely enclosed in the pastry shell.' - Wikipedia article on pies @ 20:30 24/03/10

Personally when someone gives me a dish containing a casserole with pastry placed on top and calls it pie I die a little inside. I feel this can hardly be called a pie but it seems that this shoddy practice has infiltrated the public conciousness as a supposedly acceptable practice for some time. I fear it is too late to turn back the tide on this one. However, do I think that this idea of filling on pastry that they call "filled" is a pie? To quote Margaret Thatcher, no, no, no! I think this is an abomination. It isn't even fit to use the letters p, i or e; it should clearly be called a tart! I have never heard anyone call such a thing a pie and hope I never will. I don't want to see the filling of my pie before I eat it, it would be naked! I only tolerate lattice pies because they look pretty. I would appreciate any views other have on this matter.
continue reading "What makes a pie a pie?"

Tuesday 23 March 2010

Pieminister Pie Review: The Perfect Comfort Food

Pieminister Pie Review - Moo and Blue

Those who say that you should never go food shopping on an empty stomach do not appreciate pies. Convenient and filling, they fill a hole like no other food can. It was this reason why I picked up a pieminister from Sainsbury’s, after I realised that it was half four and I’d not eaten. While at £2.99 it was a fair bit more expensive that the average pie, my eye was caught by the appealing packaging and I figured that after having just finished my dissertation, I deserved the best pie I could buy. I paused for a minute when I considered the only flavour there was: moo & blue. While this was a fun name, I was a little apprehensive of the blue part which was actually stilton. I do like cheese, but I wasn’t entirely sure I like it with steak and red wine gravy. I pushed this thought aside and figured: it’s a pie, how bad could it be? I was also a little put off by the look of the pies, two out of the three left had seemed to have leaked gravy through the pasty. I chose the best looking one. However, I picked up a regular Sainsbury’s own beef and onion pie too, just in case.

Fortunately, Sainsbury’s is only a stone throw away so I had my new pie home soon. Turning on the oven to heat up, this pie got an instant negative point. It would take a whole 25 minutes for it to cook! At least this would give me time to study the box:
“When the perils of life get you down and make your ‘happy moo’ blue, what you need is to chill with a steadying, comforting pie on some steamy mashed spuds all smothered in pieminister groovy. Stick in there buddy… all’s well that end’s well!”
This seems like it was my kind of pie. While I may not be having it with mash, I was confident that this pie was going to be amazing.

Now if it would only hurry up and cook!

*10 minutes later*

I took my pie out of the oven and transferred it to a plate. It smelt gooood. I stuck a knife in it just to make sure it was hot through. It wasn’t so I put it back on the baking tray and into the oven. Hurmp.

*10 minutes later*

That’s better. It was now hot all the way through. The pastry was that lovely golden colour which you only get with good quality. I have to say though, even though I picked up the best quality one I could, it still looked a little battered with holes in the top where the pastry had fallen in. I cut it open and while it took a minute to get through the crust, the gravy came pouring out. The moment of truth. I brought a forkful to my mouth with anticipation. Wow. This was a proper pie. The rich flavours only complimented each other, and while I could taste the stilton is wasn’t as overpowering as I thought it might be. There were also small chunks of carrot and onion. While the taste was good, I felt they skimped a bit on the filling. From the look of the pastry, you’d think it would be bursting with filling, but it only came to about halfway up. The meat was good quality though, and wasn’t at all chewy. While the pastry was a little tough, I put this down to me cooking it for an extra 10 minutes.

Though I felt a little cheated by the cost and the amount of filling, the size was actually fine for me, I’ve only got a little stomach! Also, the fullness of the flavours justified the cost. It is safe to say this is not your average pie.

1. Colour 5/5
2. Consistency 3/5
3. Capacity 2/5
4. Chewiness 3/5
5. Cheapness 2/5
6. Content 4/5
7. Condition 3/5

Pieminister Moo and Blue Pie - British Beef Steak and Stilton
Score: 4.4/7

and let us know your thoughts!

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Are you a Piefectionist?

Tonight I have been most eating an All Steak Pukka Pie.

Everyone knows Pukka Pies, they are one of the most iconic brands of modern Britain. If you're partial to a pie from the chippy then you've almost certainly eaten one. "Calm down, we've all had a few, so why do you need to write a review?" I hear our loyal readers saying. The answer is simple. Never in the course of pie production has so much been owed by so many to so few. This family business sends out 50 million pies and pasties each year from 'the most modern pie production facility in Europe'. It is my duty as a true Pierateer to walk this familiar road once more for the sake of putting the record straight.

But enough of that, on with the review. As you can see from the piecture there is a good amount of filling in this Pukka Pie, they could've crammed in more but then it might have leaked so i'm not going to complain about that. It is of course not all steak. Ample amounts of a deliciously thick gravy has become something of a Pukka Pies trademark. There is a good amount of meat in there which was flavoursome but slightly too chewy. Then to my horror I realised that one of the pieces of meat was just a huge chunk of fat. To be fair though, I have never had this experience with a Pukka Pie before.

The pastry is very soggy which is possibly not the connoisseur's choice but it does actually taste alright. However it all adds to the slightly stodgy feel of Pukka Pies. I've tried eating more than one Pukka Pie at a time and its not the best experience, they're just too heavy.

Overall there is a reason why Pukka Pies are so popular. They are good middle of the road value for money pies. You also know exactly what to expect when you buy one. This was from Sainsbury's but it tasted identical to those sold in a chip shop. So unlike their adverts getting a Pukka Pie is a compromise but its like the compromise of buying a Ford instead of a Jaguar. You don't want to break the bank but you still need to get from A to P.

Colour 6/7
Consistency 6/7
Capacity 4/7
Chewiness 2/7
Cheapness 5/7
Content 4/7
Condition 5/7

Score: 4.6/7
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Saturday 20 March 2010

There are no half measures with the best half-time pie available

Meat and Potato Pie Review from Potts Pies

You are reading our historical first ever pie review on!

For months I have been dreaming about finally getting my hands on a Potts Pie. They have been sold at Morecombe football ground and were crowned king of footy pies by the man who ate all the pies, Tom Dickinson.

Potts Pies Meat and Potato PieThey also have a few shops in the local area which do an excellent trade on weekday lunchtime (or dinner time as they call it up north) but only open briefly on Saturdays. Today though I managed to buy a Meat and Potato Pie from the Lancaster branch. This isn't my typical choice but it was forced upon me by the fact that it was all that was left. However I still have high hopes and I ask you now to join me on the exciting culinary journey.

Potts Pies Meat and Potato PieAt first glance it just looks like a normal pie in a fair Condition considering it was one of the last ones. There is a nice Colour to the pastry with some variation. One thing I notice is that the paper bag it came with had started to go translucent due to the PURE LARD that they use to make their pastry. Make no mistake these are NOT low fat pies.

Let's take a bite.....


Right now words are just not enough. Language is just too inflexible for me to explain the depth of flavour and the perfect balance of pastry/filling that this pie has. Its like this pie wants me to eat it. The individual ingredients have all been waiting for this moment and planning how they could make it as perfect as possible. I can just imagine the wheat sitting in the field and being just the right ripeness when it was harvested.

The pastry is just the right Chewiness, I would say it was above average on the chewinessometer but in my opinion pie pastry should be slightly chewy where as modern fare tends to be more soggy. It is brilliantly Crispy too which I now realise isn't even on the Seven C's but I'm so excited I can't restrict myself to just the 7.

In the middle the meat is more tender than most pie meat which is often sadly low quality. There is a great texture and Consistency with the filling. The Capacity is high and the Content fufils the whole capacity, another factor regularly missing with lesser pies. I would say that it is quite salty which I like but isn't for everyone.

IPotts Pies Meat and Potato Pie have now noticed that having put the half eaten pie on its paper wrapper the fat has soaked through the paper and made two pages of a notebook underneath also go translucent. That brings me nicely to my conclusions about this pie. It's flavours are great and its clearly a premium product. But it isn't the lightest thing and you can taste the grease a little. So it is fantastic as a treat or the occasional dinner but you're not going to be able to eat loads and it isn't advised! At £2 it not the Cheapest but offers good value for money. Even if you have to pay more and utilise their revolutionary 'Pies By Post' service it is recommended that every pie lover tries one.

Potts Pies Meat and Potato Pie
Score: 5.9/7

See where this pie ended up in the Pierate Pie Rankings or find other pies of a similar flavour.

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